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White House to upset purged Trump appointees: get over it

The White House has a simple message for Trump appointees venting to the media about losing their jobs since President Biden took office: get over it.

Why it matters: The White House has been methodically clearing house, a practice former President Trump followed when he was elected — most prominently at the State Department. The aim is to install staff more in sync with an administration starkly different than its predecessor.


What they're saying: “Elections have consequences," said White House spokesperson Mike Gwin.

  • "President Biden won with a commanding victory in November, and now he has the right and obligation to make sure the positions he fills reflect the priorities he campaigned on."

Between the lines: Trump appointees have not been going quietly.

  • “I got completely screwed,” one appointee, Vanessa Ambrosini, told Politico in February.
  • Ambrosini lost her parental leave, along with other benefits, after Biden was sworn in on Jan. 20.

Most recently, the White House axed members of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, which oversees the architecture of federal buildings in D.C.

  • "I was shocked and dismayed to learn that three of my fellow commissioners, along with myself, have been asked to resign or be terminated by the president," commission chair Justin Shubow said in a statement.
  • "Any such removal would set a terrible precedent."

National Security Agency general counsel Michael Ellis, who Trump installed immediately after the presidential race was called for President Biden, also vented in his resignation letter.

  • Ellis complained he had been put “on administrative leave for nearly three months without any explanation or updates.”

Such turnover is par for the course; when Trump took office, he axed a number of Obama appointees.

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

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Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

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Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

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Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

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"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

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What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

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